Início » Improve social awareness for anxiety and depression

Improve social awareness for anxiety and depression

Lo Choi In, Macao Livelihood and Economy Alliance

In a recent shocking case in Macao, a mother is suspected of mixing poison in food, not only to take her own life, but also that of her 14-year-old daughter. This year alone there have been several cases of suicide, something that deserves greater discussion and attention from the public. The Government, relevant authorities and the public should pay more attention to emotional and mental health issues. I suggest that the Government strengthen community education in order to raise awareness among residents. At the same time, the authorities should increase investment and support for social services related to mental health, with a view to developing a multifaceted approach and building a mature and complete professional system, staffed with competent professionals to strengthen the social safety net and reduce the occurrence of these tragedies.

The media have taken a professional journalistic approach to dealing with reports of suicides by minors in order to avoid further cases and secondary harm to family members, something I strongly agree with. However, due to the general lack of awareness about mental health in the community and the negative connotation of mental illness, neglect of mental health issues can be compounded. Although the causes of suicide are complex and complicated, experts and academics point out that anxiety and depression are closely related to this act, even being its precursors. However, there has been a lack of attention and recognition in the community. Ignoring the emotional prompts on the part of people who suffer from these conditions may cause some patients with early-stage mood disorders to miss out on the best opportunities for treatment and intervention. This can eventually lead to psychiatric disorders or even tragedies.

During the pandemic, the University of Macau and the Kiang Wu Institute of Nursing conducted a survey on the mental health of Macao citizens after the Covid-19 outbreak. Although the survey results reflected that the mental health of most citizens was stable, there was still a considerable number of citizens who said they suffered from anxiety and depression, or even severe insomnia, and who were not very willing to seek psychiatric support. To prevent mental health problems, it is necessary to increase public awareness. The Government should increase support for the community and academic sector to conduct more research on mental health issues. Work and economic pressure is certainly one of the main causes of emotional problems. The Government must prioritize subsistence issues in the use of financial resources. I therefore urge the authorities to consider, within the limits of their financial situation, appropriate measures or to relaunch the “Electronic Consumption Benefit Plan” in order to strengthen the economy and support disadvantaged groups. It should also increase its investment in social services, especially in the areas of adolescent mental health, community support, etc.

The Government has to take the lead in promoting multidisciplinary cooperation between organizations through relevant policies or incentives and make good use of technology platforms to increase dissemination or develop mental health self-assessment apps. In the long term, it is necessary to establish a mechanism to oversee the professional training of responsible personnel and continuing education, increasing the number of relevant jobs. A professional team should be built, and the launch of a pilot project on universal screening for mental health should even be considered.

*Macao Livelihood and Economy Alliance

Contact Us

Generalist media, focusing on the relationship between Portuguese-speaking countries and China.

Plataforma Studio


Subscribe Plataforma Newsletter to keep up with everything!